October 9, 2007


Yanks' loss may mean end of an era (Ken Rosenthal, 10/08/07, FOXSports.com)

The roll call, a boisterous Yankee Stadium tradition, took on an entirely different form Monday night after the Yankees were eliminated by the Indians.

Instead of fans in the right-field bleachers chanting the names of the Yankees' regulars, reporters moved through a grim, quiet clubhouse, assessing those who might never wear pinstripes again.

Strange as it might sound, the Indians' 6-4 victory in Game 4 of the Division Series might have been the last postseason game ever played at Yankee Stadium, which will close after next season.

The transition could be that significant, that severe.

Bronx burns with questions: Latest failure casts Torre's future in doubt (Nick Cafardo, October 9, 2007, Boston Globe)
The Yankees have become one of the great mysteries of modern sports. All of that talent. All of those resources. And nothing to show. When was the last time they won a meaningful October game? 2003, Game 7 of the ALCS (the Grady Little-Pedro Martínez game) is probably your answer.

Consider their 2004 ALCS meltdown against the Red Sox - up, 3-0, only to lose the next four games in one of history's biggest chokes. Add the 2005 Division Series loss to the Angels. Then there was last year's miserable offensive performance against the Tigers in the Division Series. The latest failure was bowing to the Cleveland Indians in four games in this year's ALDS, sealed with last night's 6-4 loss in their home ballpark.

Add it up and you have a team that has put its fan base, its owner, and itself through a little bit too much pain.

The problem for the Yankees--besides th fact that they have no position player on the roster or in the high minors who will be starting three years from now--is that Arod certainly won't come back to face the Stadium crowds & NYC media and George is going to fire Torre, so Brian Cashman will be hard-pressed to let the elder free agents walk away, as he should. So you re-sign a fading Mariano Rivera for too many years, ditto Posada, and then have to find a starting 3b and 1b and somewhere to hide the gloves of their current ss, 2b, lf & cf. Whoever takes over, be it Don Mattingly or whoever else, faces an unenviable task. It would not be the least bit surprising if George's hometown team--the Tampa Rays--has a better record than the team he owns over the next five years.

Why the Yankees lost to the Indians (Larry Mahnken, October 09, 2007, Hardball Times)

Derek Jeter: .176/.176/.176, 3 H, 0 XBH, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 3 GIDP

The Teflon Yankee has had awful postseason series’ before, but always seemed to redeem himself with a great series later on, or a big play in the bad series. Sometimes he did neither, but escaped blame for no other reason than his past successes.

It’s hard to see how Jeter can escape blame in this one.

He was a non-factor in games one and two, and despite a couple of singles early in game four, he may have sealed the team’s fate by killing a 1st-and-3rd one-out rally with a double play in the sixth. To be fair, Jeter has been hurt down the stretch, but even a hurt Jeter should do better than three singles, zero walks and three GIDPs.

Hideki Matsui: .182/.438/.182, 2 H, 0 XBH, 0 RBI

The five walks and four runs scored mask Matsui’s utter failure to be a useful hitter this series. Two singles and no RBIs were all he could muster, which was especially bad considering that he started the series as A-Rod’s protection.

Matsui can be a dangerous hitter at times, but he’s a mediocre fielder at best, and a terrible burden on the lineup when he’s slumping.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2007 6:28 AM

Oj, really, is this all ya got? Tell me you can do better.

For one, even assuming no Arod and Jeter in 3 years (They'll both be there btw), and that Melky washes out, etc etc., exactly what is going to happen to Cano, virtually the only Yankee hitter who didn't looked like a deer in the headlights this series (Melky didn't either).

You just make yourself look silly with these arguments.

Back on planet earth, the Yanks are primed to continue their domination of the AL East, where their only competition is likely to be Tampa in 3 years. Besides the ridiculous arms they have in the system, which will fill out the rotation and the pen within the next year or 2, let alone 3, they also have a number of position players who should be ready to replace the likes of Posada, Abreu, Damon, and thankfully Jeter at ss, within 3 years.

Where will the Sawx be then? Using your logic, there'll be no Manny and Papi (2 guys they'll find it impossible to replace) and Tek. Their 2 best young pitchers in Paps and the Laptop Thief have weak shoulders, and will likely be Prior/Wood 2.0. What else do they have? Pedroia just had his career year, Lugo, Coco, and Nancy are hardly a future. The rest of their minor league pitchers plus Lester are 4-5 starters at best, Dice-baseonballs schtick only works when hitters haven't faced him, and on and on. They've got what, a decent ss high in the system, and a first baseman lower down. Which pales in comparison to what the Yanks have. And they draft poorly. How's Daniel Bard doing again?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 9, 2007 9:18 AM

Sox and Yankees. Sox and Yankees. Sox and Yankees. yadda yadda yadda

The balance of power has shifted. Tigers, Angels, Indians are the future.

No position player on the Tribe had a career year. None. Pronk was way below average. Sizemore is years away from his peak yet he is already the best centerfielder in baseball.

Tribe has the best 1-2 starters in baseball and lights out relief pitchers. Plenty of prospects.

Shapiro built a teanm that dominated the Yankees on 1/3 the payroll. 40% that of Boston.

The Tribe is primed for a 3-4 year run that will eclipse the 1990s. Go Tribe!

Posted by: Bob at October 9, 2007 9:47 AM

I heard a great stat on the radio this morning: the Yankees have paid a billion dollars in player salaries since the last time they won a World Series.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at October 9, 2007 10:58 AM

I look forward to the posting of a link to next week's "Why the Sawx lost to the Indians" article with even greater anticipation.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 9, 2007 11:00 AM

Sizemore is excellent and Guttierez looks like he could be a player. Martinez can't catch. They have to move Cabrera to SS because Peralta is a stiff. Hafner is already past his prime and faces the precipitous slow fat white guy decline. Blake, Nixon, etc, are just filler.

Sabathia & Carmona are wonderful and they have some more young arms in the pipeline.

The Tigers look loaded for awhile.

The Angels youngsters aren't panning out the way they were expected too and they've held them too long.

The Sox have a four-five man rotation of 27 and unders that's the best in baseball and a panoply of excellent young bullpen arms.

They work Lowrie and Ellsbury into starting jobs next year and probably re-sign Lowell, but could move Youkilis there easily. They desperately need a catcher and should go after Gerald Laird or Kenji Johjima. Given that this is their only need they're in pretty good shape.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 11:33 AM

Jeter could probably dh at age 36, but he and Cano can't both dh and they need to, and Jeter's not likely to be an especially valuable bat by then. Slow 2b with their entire value tied up in average have short enough shelf lives that problem will probably resolve itself. With Arod gone and Melky, as you concede, a bust, that leaves them with no starting position player from this team.

Hughes, Betances, Kennedy, Chamberlain is a nice set of arms though the Yankees ended up with most of them because of their obvious shortcomings (6'10", Mussina-lite, Kerfeldism).

Making the playoffs may have been the worst thing to happen to the Yanks, since they might have traded some of the older deadwood otherwise.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 11:40 AM

You should have seen Martinez last year. He improved tremendously. His throws to third were excellent all year. He's pretty good at first also now. He is like a young Posada or Veritek. Great offense and adequate defense.

We'll have to disagree about Hafner. He has 2 prime years left. Then the slow decline.

Peralta will be moved to third, if not next year, then the year after. His stick is still useful at SS until then.

"Applestrudel" Cabrera is a future star. He was a difference maker down the stretch. Hopefully Barfield can turn it around at second. Unsure why he took such a dive offensively this year.

Blake is a versitile role player, the kind of guy the 1990's Yankess had.

You forgot Garko.

Nixon won't be here next year. He was barely here this year.

We do need a left fielder. Lofton was great this year but wants to play CF. At 40, he could go any time as well. Delucci is NOT the answer. Perhaps Francisco or Choo (if he recovers from his Tommy John surgery) will step up.

Posted by: Bob at October 9, 2007 12:15 PM

Yes, Victor can just move to 1B at which point he's an average hitter for his position instead of elite.

Peralta is likewise only valuable as a 20 HR ss, though Wedge and management hate him even there.

Hafner is a 30 year old slow white 1b. They're never just hitting their peak.

Guys with OPSs under .800 aren't stars even if they field SS reasonably well.

They have nowhere to play Garko unless they move him back to catcher, which seems a bad idea.

I like Barfield but he looked awful. Choo is a dog.

So all they need is a LF, 3B, 2B, three starters and a closer.

It's a nice team but the Tigers are significantly more promising.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 3:26 PM

If the Tribe can get four starts out of Sabathia and Carmona they can certainly beat the Sox. Pitching wins, which is why the Yankeees are golfing today.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 3:28 PM

Hafner is a DH and not nearly as fat or slow as the Sox DH.

Martinez is the best all around catcher in the AL. Best hitter and, after hard work, a decent defensive guy.

Lowrie is a Peralta without power.

Ellsbury is a nice looking player but can he play center?

You're delusional about the Sox bullpen. It is nearly as bad as the Yankees one except for Papelbon.

Schilling is a slightly younger Clemens, Fuzzy Dice is Jake Westbrook. Lester and Bucholz will see the DL at Kerry Wood levels. Beckett is outstanding of course.

Sox need a whole bullpen other than closer, RF, CF, catcher and 3 healthy starters. They mostly need both Ortiz and Manny to both stay healthy. Otherwise, they are a .500 club at best.

Posted by: Bob at October 9, 2007 9:33 PM

Ortiz will be useless in a couple years too.

Mauer is head and shoulders above everyone else. Martinez is an adequate dh.

Lowrie has Peralta's power, but may not be able to play ss long term either.

Ellsbury is a cf. Their best team for a few years is him, Coco & Drew.

Delcarmen is a lockdown guy in the Mariano for Wetteland mold. The rest are serviceable parts and that's all middle relievers ever are--their performances vary too much from year to year to trust them. The Tribe's problem is they have no closer.

Schilling isn't one of the 5.

They need to get rid of Manny and find a big bat to replace Ortiz a couple years from now. The only immediate need is catcher.

They're going to be a less powerful team but a better one defensively, which matches their pitching well.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 11:11 PM